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How Weather Can Impact Views of the “Ring of Fire” Annular Solar Eclipse


The final solar eclipse of 2023 will begin moving over the United States on Saturday morning, but weather experts say cloudy conditions will likely impact many Americans’ ability to see it.

This solar event will be an annular solar eclipse, meaning the Moon will be far from Earth along its orbit and will therefore appear smaller than usual. When the moon passes in front of the sun, it does not completely cover it, but a circle of light surrounds it, a phenomenon that inspired the eclipse’s nickname “Ring of Fire.”

The annular solar eclipse will begin to pass over the United States in the Pacific Northwest. It is scheduled to begin in Oregon at 9:13 a.m. PDT, according to NASA. The eclipse will then move southeast until it leaves the United States in southern Texas at 12:03 p.m. CDT, after which it will pass over the Gulf of Mexico before moving over parts of Central and South America.

Above, the sun rises during an annular eclipse on June 10, 2021 in Toronto, Canada. Weather experts say cloudy skies could prevent some people living in the United States from seeing Saturday’s annular solar eclipse.
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

People who are in the annular path of the eclipse have the best chance of seeing all of its phases, although everyone in the contiguous United States should be able to see part of the eclipse, experts say from NASA. But cloudy conditions could interfere with viewing plans, starting with areas near the eclipse’s U.S. entrance.

Talk with News week By phone Friday afternoon, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Mike Doll said the northwest United States should see “some cloud cover.” Residents of the Boise, Idaho metropolitan areas; Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon, “probably won’t be able to see the eclipse” due to cloudy conditions. These areas will present the “worst conditions” for eclipse viewing, he said.

Cloudy skies are also forecast along the East Coast, according to the National Weather Service Forecast Center, which posted a map showing its cloud forecast for the eclipse on X, formerly Twitter.

Better viewing conditions are expected in the central and southern Rockies, southwestern United States, and southern Plains. In Salt Lake City, Utah, forecasters don’t expect conditions to be “completely overcast,” but there likely won’t be enough cloud breaks to view the eclipse, Doll said. Cloudy conditions are also forecast for Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix, Arizona; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, but those areas should have “pretty good viewing conditions,” he said. Large Texas cities are also expected to see strong opinions.

Solar and weather experts remind those planning to view the eclipse to do so safely by using special eclipse glasses or homemade tools, such as pinhole cameras, designed to protect the eyes of the eclipse. sun. NASA has instructions on its website that walk people through the steps of making a pinhole camera using cardstock, foil, and tape.

For those who will not benefit from optimal viewing conditions, NASA will broadcast the eclipse live on its YouTube channel.

This will be the last eclipse of 2023. The next such event will be a total solar eclipse, which will take place on April 8.



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